White supremacists are celebrating the marching orders President Donald Trump gave them at the debate last night as even conservatives are shocked that Trump didn’t denounce them.
During the presidential debate against Democrat nominee Joe Biden last night, moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he was “willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacist and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?” He cited violence from right-wing groups in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Portland, Oregon.
“I’m willing to do anything, I want to see peace,” Trump replied. So Wallace and Biden both pressed him to denounce white supremacists.
Trump then asked Wallace who he should call out specifically, and the Fox News journalist suggested the Proud Boys, an anti-LGBTQ white supremacist hate group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has said rewards its members’ violence and that has been responsible for outbreaks of violence for years.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said last night, which is really not the same thing as denouncing them or even telling them to “stand down.”
“I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you what,” Trump continued. “Somebody’s gotta do something about Antifa and the left.”
Watch Trump refuse to condemn white supremacists and Proud Boys: pic.twitter.com/X4Nfj7yKaf
— The Recount (@therecount) September 30, 2020
On social media, Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs celebrated Trump’s comments: “Trump basically said to go fuck them up! this makes me so happy.”
The group is also making T-shirts with Trump’s words, “Stand back, stand by,” with their logo.
The Proud Boys are now sharing the group's logo with the president's words emblazoned like a slogan. pic.twitter.com/T3tp286YRa
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) September 30, 2020
Fox & Friends‘s Brian Kilmeade was shocked by Trump’s words.
“He’s gotta clarify that right away,” Kilmeade said.
He said that the question should have been easy: “That’s like, ‘Are you against evil?’ Why the president didn’t just knock that out of the park, I’m not sure.”
Brian Kilmeade: "Donald Trump ruined the biggest layup in the history of debates by not condemning white supremists. I don't know if he didn't hear it, but he's gotta clarify that right away. … Why the president didn't just knock it out of the park, I'm not sure." pic.twitter.com/Qo52jBDTPl
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) September 30, 2020
Even the people behind the Merriam-Webster Dictionary made sure everyone knew what Trump was saying.
'Stand back': to take a few steps backwards
'Stand by': to be or to get ready to act #Debates2020
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) September 30, 2020